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Mauro Malang Santos (1928-2017)
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Mauro Malang Santos (1928-2017)\n?The Candle Vendor? aka ?Vendor and Barong Barong\nAbstraction helped Malang to free his mind from too much dependence on his eye. but on the other hand, his background as an illustrator has kept for him a fruitful reverence for objects. This has resulted into a melting pot ? past and present, old and new, converging into a rich stylistic amalgam.\nIn a Malang painting, everything is ?recognizable? but everything is also out of place or reconstructed into a new form of reality. A reality which is not in appearance alone but reality which is felt, imagined and thought of.\nOne of Malang?s stories about his childhood in the Santa Cruz district of Manila concerns his Mother, who used to supplement his family?s income by selling ?puto? and other native snacks outside their home. As a boy, Malang was disgruntled about the chore of carrying large glass jars of delicacies in the morning to help his mother set up the stall and then bring them back into their house just before dinner. This almost ritualistic routine has probably made a deep impression on the young Malang for life. That primal maternal influence among others pervaded his consciousness. Not only did he use his mother?s surname to carve a distinct identity in Philippine art.\nThe art of Malang celebrates life, rural folk, and the fiesta spirit, and his abstractions of Filipino women sans the lugubriousness that other artists would rather add in depicting common folk. ?The Candle Vendor? is representative of his countless icons of an idee fixe, a woman from among the common folk, with an elegantly long neck, posed in a world of colorful items to sell such as candles in bright colors.\nIt is interesting to note how in many of Malang?s works, the woman vendor theme ? a favorite, almost obsessive subject among Filipino painters ? has become subsumed in the greater theme of the fruition of his artistic sensibility.\nIt has been written that Malang?s women, such as this candle vendor, continue to wear costumes similar to those his mother used to wear. These women are mainly venders. Malang renders them in relaxed poses. In ?The Candle Vendor?, the cornucopia baroque compulsion to crowd with decorative detail is seen in the curlicue motifs of the shoulder sleeve at the left. He says he is not trying to tell a narrative or being symbolic in these images. Rather he considers this image a component of his abstraction cum cubistic figuration to create a strong visual feel. This reveals the artist?s skill in graphic design, in which he draws the viewer to all features of the painting.\nOf note in ?The Candle Vendor? is the geometric crescent in the sky. Is it the sun or the moon? The composition displays a favorite device: a row of hemmed in forms, the barung barongs clustered at the upper left, projecting a light hearted festiveness despite their real socio economic implications. Malang?s early work dealt with women, landscapes and shanties. His exposure as a newspaper artist made him a modernist. In contrast, another artist whose background was also in the print media was Fernando Amorsolo, who shifted to an academic style after his stint also as a book illustrator in such publications as The Philippine Craftsman during the World War 1 era and The Philippine Reader later during the American Periodin. As a result, Amorsolo?s relaxed pastoral landscapes and genre paintings seem to erase traces of his precisionist book illustrator past. Malang?s style; on the other hand, remains distinguished by the images he conjures. His palette is that of the printer?s ? storybook attractive and methodical. The candles are hinted by the parallel vertical lines framed by the white oval in the center. Taking his cue from the spaciousness of contemporary lay out designs in posters and magazines, Malang allows for ?breathing spaces? for the eyes to rest, especially made manifest in the voluminous sleeves and the spaces below the sleeves flanking her lower body. Such spatial provisions manage to avoid the congested look of horror vacui, cubist style.\nsigned and dated 1970 (bottom)\noil on canvas\n36?x 27? (91 cm x 69 cm)
US
NY, US
US

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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